“We want them to have an experience of God”, she said.
She being, my mentor, coach, and teacher and founder of Embody, Nadia Munla.
If you go to her website you will be greeted with an invitation to embody your pleasure, power, and play. Those are beautifully alliterated ways for your mind to wrap itself around what’s happening, and know that the deeper invitation is to connect with God, through your body, and if you so choose to, through dance.
If I was reading these words even just a few years ago, something inside of me would have squirmed.
“God, in here? Through my body? Not out there somewhere?” I was taught to pray to an omnipresent being that existed everywhere; except in my body, nature, others, and anything physical really. Except for Jesus. Jesus, and only Jesus had access to God in his body.
And God and dance meeting each other in the same sentence? Whoah. That was cutting edge and slightly secular and new age sounding.
I was taught to meet God through stillness. Pray on the side of my bed, maybe through reading the Bible. Even church wasn’t really a place to meet with God, more a place to practice a collective worship of God. Music was allowed, but not dance (unless it was scripted and choreographed as part of the Broadway-esque Christmas pageant or 4th of July show.)
The idea that I might be worthy enough for God to make his way into my being, to express itself through the expression of me; that was a message that didn’t make its way into the sermons I heard.
Over the past 6 years I’ve been on a journey that has blown my heart wide open while my head has been left spinning, as very little of this new experience of what I would call God fits into the box I used to squeeze It into.
And yes, I just called God and It. Not a He or a She, because for today, a genderless all powerful, all knowing, all present source of life seems more like it.
As I’ve been trying to reconcile my history with the story I’m living, I’ve wrestled with facilitating a movement experience that invites women, and more recently, all humans, to move their bodies to music. Not only was that in and of itself forbidden, could you imagine if the music got a bit sensual, inviting in the exploration of one’s turn on in their body through their senses? Clearly sacrilege.
Except what I found is, this movement to music is a most sacred practice for me. A way to connect to the core of who I am; call that my soul. Which then intersects with the source of my soul; call that God. Which means I’m connecting to God through the very thing that was once deemed dirty and unholy; my body.
So can you imagine the liberation and ecstatic excitement I felt what it was stated out loud that the version of embodiment we’re offering to you through Embody has full permission to give you an experience of God, if that’s what you want it to be.
It was like the explosion that happens when the music has been building and building in a club and finally the bass drops and you’re like, “YES! That’s what I’ve been waiting for this whole time!”
My hunch is that is what we are all waiting for. We are all waiting for the energy to build, the bass to drop, the rhythm to carry you on to a new wave of whole-self full-bodied connection with It All. With nature, with others, with your self, with the stars, the seaweed, and source it all came from. For in that moment, everything becomes magical, possible, accessible. You don’t need anything outside of you to fulfill you. You are full because you are in complete union with It All. There is no void needing an object or substance to help you bridge the gap. There is no gap. No separation.
For me, this is embodiment. The trick is of course, to maintain that 24/7. Here’s where, unless you’re Jesus, I’m not sure it’s gonna happen. And who knows, maybe it wasn’t there for him either.
And so for me, embodiment is like a wave. There are moments of that complete union of your physical and spiritual self. And then there are those moments of disconnection, where you feel so far away from who you were created to be, as if you were living someone else’s life. Which is easy to do these days because there’s so many voices reminding you that you are lacking and need xyz in order to be complete.
Which is when discerning between the thoughts in your head and the intuition that lives in your body can be so helpful. To be able to filter through the voice in your head that says dancing is dangerous and sinful and the experience you have when you let your body move freely to music. And not just the feeling, but the sensation that you have while you’re doing that, which somehow communications to you that somehow this is another sacred act of honoring who you are, how you were created, and that the things that light you up and turn you on, are actually OK. And that by allowing for them, you are actually allowing for God to move through you. That as you take action from that super connected ‘embodied’ place from within you, whether it is in your dance, your boardroom conversation, your cleaning of your house, or your creating in the art room… that embodiment is God moving through you. You are an extension and expression of It.
And that’s why we invite you to dance. To remember who you are. To have an experience of God.